CMHC CHANGES TO ASSIST SELF-EMPLOYED BORROWERS

General Pankaj Joshi 27 Jul

As a self-employed person myself, I was happy to hear that CMHC is willing to make some changes that will make it easier for us to qualify for a mortgage.
In an announcement on July 19, 2018, the CMHC has said “Self-employed Canadians represent a significant part of the Canadian workforce. These policy changes respond to that reality by making it easier for self-employed borrowers to obtain CMHC mortgage loan insurance and benefit from competitive interest rates.” — Romy Bowers, Chief Commercial Officer, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. These policy changes are to take effect Oct. 1, 2018.

Traditionally self-employed borrowers will write as many expenses as they can to minimize the income tax they pay each year. While this is a good tax-saving technique it means that often a realistic annual income can not be established high enough to meet mortgage qualification guidelines.
Plain speak, we don’t look good on paper.

Normally CMHC wants to see two years established business history to be able to determine an average income. But the agency said it will now make allowances for people who acquire existing businesses, can demonstrate sufficient cash reserves, who will be expecting predictable earnings and have previous training and education.
Take for example a borrower that has been an interior designer with a firm for the past eight years and in the same industry for the past 30 years, but just struck out on his own last year. His main work contract is with the firm he used to work for, but now he has the ability to pick up additional contracts from the industry in which he has vast connections.
Where previously he would have had to entertain a mortgage with an interest rate at least 1% higher than the best on the market and have to pay a fee, now he would be able to meet insurance requirements and get preferred rates.

The other change that CMHC has made is to allow for more flexible documentation of income and the ability to look at Statements of Business Professional Activity from a sole-proprietor’s income tax submission to support Add Backs of certain write-offs to support a grossing-up of income. Basically, recognizing that many write-offs are simply for tax-saving purposes and are not a reduction of actual income. This could mean a significant increase in income and buying power.

It is refreshing after years of government claw-backs and conservative policy changes to finally see the swing back in the other direction. Self-employed Canadians have taken on the burden of an often fluctuating income and responsible income tax management all for the ability to work for themselves. These measures will help them with the reward of being able to own their own home as well.

REASONS WHY EVERY REALTOR NEEDS A MORTGAGE BROKER AT THEIR OPEN HOUSES

General Pankaj Joshi 23 Jul

Realtor Safety – While we do not have the safety issues that realtors experience south of the border, there have been incidents involving female realtors being assaulted or feeling uncomfortable being alone with strangers walking around the house.

Property Safety – Did you know that when a realtor is holding an open house they are liable for any losses or damage to the property? It’s pretty easy to have one person distract the agent upstairs while their partner runs off with the flat screen TV or the silverware. Another person in the property discourages theft and can make the realtor feel safer.

Snagging new clients – sometimes people show up at open houses without any preparation. They may like a home but they have no idea whether they could afford it. Enter the mortgage broker- by being on the premises you can quickly pre-approve these prospective buyers giving the realtor an opportunity for a quick sale and to double end the deal.

Third Party Feedback – sometimes visitors are reluctant to say anything negative about a property to a realtor but are more open with their financial partner. The realtor can benefit from both the mortgage broker’s opinion and anything that they hear from visitors.

RATE HOLDS EXPLAINED

General Pankaj Joshi 23 Jul

Have you ever heard of the term rate hold? If you have ever worked with a mortgage broker, chances are, you have!

Rate holds are something that the majority of lenders offer to potential clients purchasing a new home who need a mortgage. Rate holds are generally not given out for people refinancing their mortgage or looking to transfer it from one lender to another.

120 days is the longest rate hold available with lenders. Once you have created an application with a mortgage broker, they can submit it to an available lender offering rate holds on an interest rate you want to take advantage of- all without a property attached.

This rate hold does not commit you to working with a lender, does not commit you to working with the mortgage broker who submitted it, and does not hurt your chances of receiving an approval down the road (assuming you and your mortgage broker have not submitted multiple rate holds and plan to use a third or fourth lender).

For example, day one you submit your application to a lender for a fixed interest rate of 3.24% for 5-years, and on day 60 that interest rate moves to 3.54%, as long as your mortgage closes in the next 60 days, you are protected and can keep your 3.24% rate. If rates go down, not up, you can also take advantage of the lower interest rate.

Once the 120 days expires, there is nothing stopping you from submitting another rate hold, it will just be subject to current interest rates the day of submission. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional who can help.

REASONS WHY EVERY REALTOR NEEDS A MORTGAGE BROKER AT THEIR OPEN HOUSES

General Pankaj Joshi 23 Jul

Realtor Safety – While we do not have the safety issues that realtors experience south of the border, there have been incidents involving female realtors being assaulted or feeling uncomfortable being alone with strangers walking around the house.

Property Safety – Did you know that when a realtor is holding an open house they are liable for any losses or damage to the property? It’s pretty easy to have one person distract the agent upstairs while their partner runs off with the flat screen TV or the silverware. Another person in the property discourages theft and can make the realtor feel safer.

Snagging new clients – sometimes people show up at open houses without any preparation. They may like a home but they have no idea whether they could afford it. Enter the mortgage broker- by being on the premises you can quickly pre-approve these prospective buyers giving the realtor an opportunity for a quick sale and to double end the deal.

Third Party Feedback – sometimes visitors are reluctant to say anything negative about a property to a realtor but are more open with their financial partner. The realtor can benefit from both the mortgage broker’s opinion and anything that they hear from visitors.

10 SECRET “TO-DO’S” AFTER YOU FILE CONSUMER PROPOSAL OR BANKRUPTCY

General Pankaj Joshi 23 Jul

Many people go through challenges in life that affect their finances. Divorce, job loss, health issues top the most common reasons. I commend you on getting your finances sorted out and back on track. The moment you FILE that consumer proposal or bankruptcy is the time to start rebuilding your credit history. YES, there are companies that can help with that. Too often I see people waiting YEARS to pay off their debt program before getting credit again, which sets you back two years.

Mortgage Lenders/Banks view Bankruptcy, Consumer Proposal and Debt Programs all the same…bad credit management.

When will it come off my Credit Bureau?

Consumer Proposal Programs:
Transunion and Equifax state that it will take three years for a consumer proposal to fall off your credit score after it has been completed. So if your proposal takes you four years to pay, then your score will be damaged for seven years in total. If you are able to pay off your proposal quicker than your credit rating after a consumer proposal will get better faster. The key is that it will stay on your credit bureau for three years from completion.

Bankruptcy

A first bankruptcy for six years from the date of your discharge
A second bankruptcy for 15 years

TEN SECRET “To-Do’s” you must adhere too:
A mortgage is something most people will have for a very long time. The rules for mortgages have tightened up in the past few years. A LOT.
Once you have filed a debt program…you MUST adhere to these 10 rules.
Excuses don’t fly with Lenders.
You need to prove to THEM you are financially capable.
They owe you nothing.

If you go bankrupt or file a consumer proposal while you have a mortgage, the Lender will see this when they review for your renewal and could deny your renewal and you will need to prepare to look for another lender/bank or they charge super high renewal rates. If you are considering either option or are currently in a proposal, please contact me to review your options far in advance of your renewal.
No NSF charges on your bank accounts. Get yourself an overdraft to protect yourself.
No missed mortgage payments – EVER
No late payments on anything that reports to your Credit Bureau; credit cards, car loans, student loans or cell phone bills.
No collections for any reason. Pay that issue and sort it out later.
Double Bankruptcies or one Consumer Proposal and a Bankruptcy will make it difficult to get a mortgage. You can’t get around this anymore. It would be mortgage fraud. Lenders can look this up easily via the Bankruptcy Records Search.
If you have a Bankruptcy that has property included, it will be VERY difficult for you to get a mortgage without at least 25% down payment (for a purchase) or equity (refinance). On top, you will likely be in an Alternative mortgage for a very long time with higher rates and fees.
Get two tradelines. Credit Card, Car Loan or Line of Credit. You need to have two years of history and two of them with spending limits of at least $2,500.
Don’t spend to the limits. Only use a max 50% of available credit.
Use a Mortgage Broker who specializes in Credit Repair; who can review your file with you on a semi-annual basis to keep you on track as mortgage rules change.
You need to look “squeaky clean” until your Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal is removed from your credit bureau.
Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to be your partner once you have filed…or if you’re just in contemplation and the Banks have said NO to your debt consolidation, we will have solutions for you.

5 TIPS ON HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT AND INTO YOUR OWN HOME

General Pankaj Joshi 4 Jul

To get out of debt, you need a plan and you need to execute that plan. That’s why I’ve created this simple, five-step, get-out-of-debt checklist that can help you leave that financial burden behind you.

As you work on your plan, you’ll need to make all necessary adjustments to your budget along the way so you don’t overspend and slide back into debt. Plus, if you don’t have an emergency fund, consider setting some money aside in savings beforehand.

Keep this checklist someplace where you’ll see it often (like your refrigerator door ), and make it your goal to check a task off the list each day (or each week), depending on how quickly you want to become debt-free.

1- Make a list
Take all your bills and put them in a chart that includes: the name of creditor, interest rate, balance, minimum monthly payment. Figure out how long it will take you to pay the balance down to zero. Many credit card statements now feature this.

2. Lower your rates
This is easier than you think. Call up each of your credit card companies starting with the ones with the highest interest rates and ASK them to lower your interest rate. You can tell them that other credit cards are offering lower rates and you wanted to let them keep your business. They won’t give you an answer on the phone but you should receive a letter with a new lower rate within a couple of weeks. Another possible solution is a balance transfer. Often a credit card company will allow you to transfer your balance from another card to theirs and they charge you 0% for 6 months. They assume that you will see zero being added and will spend more. Show them that you are disciplined and keep paying the balance down as if it was still at 19%. Consider getting a debt consolidation loan. If you have a home with equity you can often get a very good rate and clear up all your debts. Often you can get these loans at considerably less than your credit cards. Once again, keep your monthly payments up as if you were still paying a credit card of 19% interest and your balance will go down quickly.
Next contact your car loan company. If you have been paying your loan on time they may lower your rates. Now you are ready to tackle the utility companies. In Alberta the gas/electric companies really want your business. You can often get a better rate just by threatening to switch. This also works with cellphone companies. They often have better plans than the one you are on but will only offer it when you say you are going to leave.

3. Get your Number
What is the amount you need to pay off all your debts? Now that you have a number in mind you can set a goal. Can you pay this off in six months? 12 months? two years?
Get your credit score number. How much does it have to improve before you can qualify to buy a house? Check with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker for help getting this.

4. Make a plan
What will be your target debt? Is it the credit card balance with the highest interest rate? The lowest balance? Set a short term goal to pay one card off in a manageable amount of time. One down and three to go sounds better than tackling all the debt at once. Pay each debt off one by one. Does your community library offer debt counselling financing planning courses? Consider signing up for one.

5 – Monitor your progress
How quickly are the debts coming down? Is your credit score going up? It should if the debts are coming down.
Do you have to adjust your plan to make your deadlines? Don’t be discouraged. Large companies make plans and set budgets and then adjust them quarterly based on how the previous three months performance was.
Stick with your plan and if you show some self-discipline you can achieve your goals in time. Finally, tell your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker what your goal is and what your timeline is. They will be happy to help you along the way. Nothing makes them happier than to tell people like you that they are approved for home financing.

IS YOUR LINE OF CREDIT KILLING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?

General Pankaj Joshi 4 Jul

Some of the last round of changes from the government regarding qualifying for a mortgage were that if you have a balance on your unsecured line of credit, then to qualify for mortgage the lenders require that we use a 3% payment of the balance of the line of credit.

Simple math is, if you owe $10,000 we have to use $300 as your monthly payment regardless of what the bank requires as a minimum. Given that the banks hand out lines of credit on a regular basis it is not uncommon for us to see $50,000 lines of credit with balances in the $40,000 range. That amount then means we have to use $1,200 a month as a payment even though the bank may require considerably less.

So what if it is a secured line of credit? Again we have clients telling us that they don’t have a mortgage only to realize they do have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity line of credit by all definition is a loan secured by property, the actual definition of a mortgage.

Again, it’s something the bank will require little more than interest payment on because it is secured. The calculation here can also upset the calculation for your next mortgage, as what is required by many lenders is to take the balance of the HELOC. Let’s say the balance is $200,000 and you convert it to a mortgage at the bench mark rate, which today is 5.34% with a 25-year amortization. That without any fees today is equal to $1202.22 per month, so what in the client’s mind may be a $400 or $500 dollar interest payment for the purpose of qualifying will be almost three times higher.

This one change to supposedly safe guard the Canadian consumer has lately been the thing we have seen stop more mortgages than just about anything else. If you have any question, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for answers.

THE RIGHT KIND OF DEBT

General Pankaj Joshi 4 Jul

Put yourself in a bank or lender’s shoes. Someone comes into your branch and asks you to politely loan them $300,000. You are a big bank, but $300,000 is still a lot of money. How do you ensure this person is going to pay back the money you loan them, on time, and in the right amount? Look at their record for borrowing other people’s money.

This is why taking on different kinds of debt when you are young is a good thing, but it must be within reason.

Credit Cards
Lenders want to see a minimum credit limit of $2,000 as well as the fact that you use your credit and pay it back on time. Don’t go overboard, even just purchasing your car’s monthly gasoline on your credit card and paying it off when your statement comes out should be enough, and the longer you do this, the better.

Car Loan
Banks love giving loans through car dealerships to first time borrowers. Why? Because if they treat you right, guess who you are going to go to when you are ready to ask for a mortgage loan. Getting an auto loan for a reasonable amount will truly help showcase your ability to a lender. Just try and make sure any car loans are completely paid off before applying for a mortgage!

Lines of Credit
Almost like leveling up from a credit card. You will get a much bigger credit limit, and have a much lower interest rate. Plus, the minimum payments are usually interest only, making it easier to manage. Using this to make a bigger purchase and making monthly payments can show your ability to manage debt.

I bet you’d feel a lot more comfortable loaning someone $300,000 if they have successfully managed debt on all three of these levels, rather than someone who came to you with only a chequing account to their name. If you have any questions, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.